Toward the end of 2013, the Fund for Educational Excellence embarked on an intensive study of Baltimore residents’ views on their public schools. Over the course of four months in 2014, we heard from 859 Baltimore residents representing all 55 community statistical areas (CSAs) in Baltimore City through a series of intimate conversations about schools and neighborhoods.
In the Dickeyville/Franklintown CSA, we heard from 10 participants. We held one ‘kitchen table conversation’ in this CSA, which took place at a private residence in the neighborhood of Dickeyville on April 16, 2014. All 10 participants chose to submit at least some demographic data.
Some of the themes that we heard most often from participants in our discussions included:
- Participants talked about the lack of community and parental involvement in schools. They suggested that community-school partnerships need to be strengthened, and the district should establish programs to increase parental involvement.
- There was discussion about district and school communications. In general, participants felt that the current level of communication is inadequate. We also heard a call for a greater emphasis to be placed on highlighting student success.
- Respondents talked about the role that schools play regarding neighborhood growth and development. According to participants, public schools in the neighborhood drive away families with children, and of the families who stay, few choose to send their children to public school.
- Participants talked about how there are issues and district policies other than curriculum and teacher training that need to be addressed, because they all work together. Some of the policies discussed include: longer school years; shorter breaks; rethinking zoning rules so that parents can send their kids to local schools and not private ones; and bussing for all students